4— ' t
Cover: Hands of Elizabeth Schiff,
master, German beaded baby
cap making, North Dakota.
Since 1983, nearly 3,000 master artists in
42 states and three U.S. territories have
teamed up with apprentices to pass on the
arts of their cultural heritage.
Opposite: Minnie Ka'awaloa, master (R),
Laurie Hera, apprentice, lauhala
weaving/hat making, Hawai'i.
In Good Hands: State Apprenticeship Programs
in Folk & Traditional Arts
I'm sure now that my daugh-
ter, Alice, will make baskets
of white oak and sedge grass
and bottom chairs. I really
don't believe she would have
started had we not got in-
volved with this program . . .
Thank you for not letting
this part of my tife die, but to
grow and keep on keeping
on. I want to leave it in
somebody's hands and I
would like it to be her.
National Endowment for the Arts 1996
Quilting in Kansas. Chinese ° und e country -
„ ■ ■ ■ state apprenticeship
opera in New York. Hispanic
santos carving in Colorado.
Hide tanning in Alaska.
programs in the folk
and traditional arts are
helping people to
"keep on keeping on" with the cherished traditions of their community. The pro-
grams, usually sponsored by a state arts council, bring a master artist together with
a committed apprentice for intensive instruction in a traditional craft or performing
art. Artist teams apply for grants to pay for supplies, teaching time, and apprentice
travel. A panel selects participants based on critera such as artistic quality and fea-
sibility of study plan. Master and apprentice work together on a project that often
culminates in a public presentation or a con-
Ernest Murray, master (L),
Steve Cookson, apprentice, Ozark
johnboat paddlemaking, Missouri.
I've been searching for a teacher for years and she is the one. Aunty Jane [Lily Jane
Ako Nunies] believes that if you have a gift, you must pass it on.
Donna Lee Cockett, apprentice lauhala weaver, Hawai'i
Apprenticeships have a ripple effect
that is felt far beyond the artist pair and
long after the end of the grant period.
ArtlStS build skills and confidence while gaining new recognition and opportunities.
C0mmiinitl6S enjoy positive publicity and affirm the value of their cultural her-
itage. SpOnSOr 3g6nCI8S reach out to underserved populations and enrich
their programming. Aft tOTfTIS that might have disappeared find a new lease on
life with a younger generation.
Bonnie Chatavong, master (L),
Line Saysamondouangdy, apprentice,
Laotian weaving, Hawai'i.
Diversity and Economy
Nationwide, most apprenticeships focus on crafts among ethnic minorities, with American
Indians, Alaska Natives, and Asian/Pacific Islander Americans especially well-represented;
Anglo and European Americans make up 39% of participants. Teams are widely dispersed across and within U.S. states and territories, from
inner-city Detroit to rural Mississippi to village Guam. Each program sets its own priorities and selection criteria according to local needs. The
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Folk & Traditional Arts Program has provided major funding for
m state apprenticeship programs since 1983, supporting 34 out of 38 active pro-
grams in 1995. Program grant
serve an impressive diver- budgets ($io,ooo-$3o,ooo)
m m m r and typical awards ($1,000-
sity of people, art forms,
$2,500 per team) have
and geographic regions. remaned stable over the years <^fc^ \ I '
Opposite: Edith "Baby Edwards" Hunt,
master (L), Germaine Ingram, apprentice, African American tap dance, Pennsylvania.
Bronius Krokys, master (L), Joseph Kasinskas, apprentice, Lithuainian folksinging, Pennsylvania.
The apprenticeship pro-
gram has a great impact
on a rural state like this.
We've done a lot to recog-
nize the diversity of North
Dakota people, many of
whom were never recog-
Mary Louise Defender-
Master storyteller, panelist
Member, North Dakota
Council on the Arts
More than lessons in technical
skills, apprenticeships are per-
sonal and cultural relationships-what one observer calls "intimate conservatories." Masters
pass on stories, lore, and language along with "tricks of the trade" and the finer points of
style. "You weave slowly so you can hear more stories," says
one apprentice. "What I most treasure is gaining a friend," writes another. The results of
apprenticeships are as varied as the artists and art forms involved. In Florida, an appren-
tice learned 30 old-time fiddle tunes and now performs with her teacher. In Colorado,
an apprentice started a class in santos carving at a vocational school. In Massachusetts
and Oregon, apprentice singers were trained to officiate at Hmong weddings. In American
Samoa, a team built a tradi-
tional house bound with 130
Fred Dolan, master (L), Shawn Gillis,
apprentice, duck decoy carving, New Hampshire
Opposite: Shoba Sharma, master (center),
apprentices Samhitha Udupa (L) and Anitha Seth (R),
Indian Bharathanatyam classical dance, Pennsylvania. miles of coconut fiber.
Ola Belle [Reed] shared
her banjo style, her incred-
ible repertoire, her life his-
tory and her family history,
her political and religious
outlooks and her recipes,
her famous chicken soup,
and her strength of moun-
Apprentice banjo player
Apprenticeships often lead to
state, local, and national
Awards and Rewards
awards for master artists, including the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship.
Some programs arrange annual receptions at the state capitol; others sponsor travel-
ling exhibits, media documentaries, or school residencies to showcase artists.
Publicity and acclaim often bring artists new invitations to present,
Sell, Or teach their art. Yet the greatest reward for many comes from mentoring an
apprentice. "It gives me much satisfaction when I have created something beautiful, durable, and
useful," writes master quilter Mary Ann Norton of Mississippi, "and even more satisfaction and
The apprenticeship gave me back some things I'd almost for-
gotten because nobody had asked me about it for so long.
Charlie Smith, master old-time fiddler, Mississippi
pleasure when I have
helped someone else
to learn how."
Above left: Eva Castellanoz, master Mexican
American wax corona maker and National
Heritage Fellowship recipient (center), with
daughter/ apprentice Erika Castellanoz (L),
present gift to Governor Barbara Roberts
at the Oregon state capitol.
Above right: Peggy Langley,
then apprentice (L), with Rex Cook,
master, saddlemaking, North Dakota.
From Apprentice to Master Saddlemaker
Peggy Langley started making saddles for the horses on her family's North Dakota ranch in
1986, following book instructions and her own intuition. She tried asking cowboys for advice
but found them unwilling to share their trade secrets with a woman. When the state folk arts
coordinator called in 1991 to ask if she'd like to be part of a saddlemaking apprenticeship, "I
thought it was a joke," Langley recalls. She convinced veteran saddlemaker Rex Cook to take
her on. "He really put me through the paces," she says. "I learned I was doing everything right; I just needed more finesse and some shortcuts
to make the work easier." The apprenticeship bolstered Langley's confidence and moved her to open her own saddlery. "When you make that
Pe SSY Langley credits the state's
first big cut into the leather, it's intimidating. Now I
can do that part in a day," she reports. Wth more
orders than she can handle and an apprentice of apprenticeship program With helping
her own, even the rodeo cowboys are impressed. her tUffl 3 paSSIOtl into 3 pfOfeSSIOIl.
If it wasn't for the NEA, I
wouldn't be making pottery.
Master stoneware potter
Everyone was hungry and
ready for [shape note
Master shape note singer
Every Saturday, Nora Ezell's six
apprentices gather at her home
Focus on Alabama
in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to work on a Maple Leaf quilt. A 1992 National Heritage Fel-
lowship winner who makes vivid African American "story quilts," Ezell expects her stu-
dents to "get it just so straight from the beginning." The Alabama Folk Arts Appren-
ticeship Program is known for its strong support of African American artists, its spon-
sorship of group apprenticeships, and its funding of masters like Ezell year after year.
Coordinator Joey Brackner takes pride in the program's role in revitaliz-
ing flagship traditions like shape note hymn singing and stoneware pottery.
Thanks in part to repeat grants and related publicity, the state boasts hundreds of com-
munity "singings" and ninth-generation potter Jerry Brown was able to return to the fam-
Opposile-. Arlin Moon, master (center),
ily craft full-time. apprentice Tina Ray (L), Little Julie Ray, old-time fiddling.
Focus on Hawai'i
There's a waiting list of people
It's become a real status
who want to study lauhala
weaving with 73-year-old Minnie Ka'awaloa on the Big Island of Hawai'i. Apprentices attest
to the love and lore she dispenses as she shows them how to harvest pandanus leaves
or start the piko (center) for a woven hat. "Aunt Minnie has taken us under her wing with
the culture, the language, the spirit," says Noelani Ng. It is this sense of prOtOCOl,
Spirituality, and Values" that Hawaii Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program coordi-
nator Lynn Martin aims to pass on. Though 80% Native Hawaiian, the roster also includes
Cantonese opera singers, Laotian woodcarvers, and Okinawan dancers and musicians.
thing to be part of the
Native Hawaiians took the
master artists for granted
before; now they look up
to them. It's done won-
ders for their spirit.
Panelist, State Foundation
on Culture and the Arts
Raymond Kane, master
(center), apprentices Bobby
Moderow, Jr. (L) and Harry Koizumi (R),
Hawaiian slack key guitar.
Hands of William
They [apprentices] got to
know not only the tech-
nique, but also the men-
tality. They got to know
who they are.
Master African American
If I go away to the army and
there's someone still here to
play for [Irish] ceili dances,
then I've done my job.
Master Irish fiddler
Focus on Missouri
One of the country's oldest
and largest programs, the Mis-
souri Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program has sponsored nearly 200 teams since
1984. Participants range from Mexican American mariachi trumpeters in Kansas City
to wooden johnboat builders in the Ozarks to African American gospel singers in
the Bootheei region. "When you're doing an apprenticeship,
you really put your best behind it because they are
going to be the role
models for the oth-
erS, says master Irish musi-
cian Patrick Gannon. Apprentice-
Cecil Murray, master (L),
Jon Murray, apprentice, Ozark
wooden johnboat making.
ships have brought long-overdue acclaim to
artists like tap dance master Richard Martin, who
toured with Missouri Performing Traditions and
received the Missouri Arts Award. For coordinator
Dana Everts-Boehm, the real Sign of
success is whether relation-
ships and traditions continue
after the grants end. tii always be
coming back to help Cecil [Murray] build boats,
or if I can't find another reason, just to pester
him," says apprentice Steve Cookson.
Larry McNally, master (R),
James Walsh, apprentice,
Irish button box accordion.
Focus on North Dakota
It took a lot of visits, gifts, and
respectful listening for D. Joyce
Kitson (Lakota-Hidatsa) to find someone to teach her Hidatsa bird quillwork. Only a few
elders know how to prepare the thin gull feather quills to create striking designs on cloth-
ing and regalia. The North Dakota Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program gives priority
to endangered art forms like this, along with Kurdish lute playing and German beaded
baby cap making. "The tradition will keep on going and become
part of someone's life, versus two hours of enjoyment for
SOme audience members," explains coordinator Troyd Geist. The invest-
ment has paid off in places like Dickinson, where apprenticeships in Ukrainian embroi-
dery, ritual bread decoration, folk dance, and pysanky (ritually decorated eggs) have
helped fuel a cultural revival.
Hands o/Angie Chruszch, master, Ukrainian pysanky.
People that are dying
[elders], and their culture
is dying-they're thankful
to see even one person
coming out to keep our
traditions alive. I could be
working as a secretary, but
I'm choosing to do this.
That's where my heart is,
in tanning a hide, doing
beadwork. I'd like to see
projects like this expand-
ed, not cut back.
D. Joyce Kitson
In ten years of working for the
tribe, I've never seen a project
that has brought Indians togeth-
er in this way.
Theresa Hoffman (Penobscot)
Member, Maine Arts
Director, Maine Indian
If basketmaking isn't done in
the household, then a kid can't
learn anytime he wants to.
Richard Silliboy (Micmac)
Focus on Maine
The first people emerged from
the bark of "basket-trees" (brown
ash trees), according to a Passamaquoddy creation legend. Many Maine Indians grew up
with the sound of ash being pounded for baskets to sell door-to-door. But the craft was
languishing when the Maine Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program was launched in
1990. Grants "gave the elders some incentive to take the
time with some of the younger generation," says participant car-
ol Dana (Penobscot). The program also spurred the formation of a state Brown Ash Task
Force to preserve the resource and the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance to advocate
for artists' needs. A tradition once linked with poverty now
thrives as a source of cultural pride.
baskets by Jim Tomah.
Donald Sanipass of
Maine Indian Basketmakers
Alliance strips brown ash.
Apprenticeships are by far
our most direct and suc-
cessful way of supporting
Folk Arts Coordinator
Maine Arts Commission
There's a whole body of
artistic wisdom that is
being passed on. We will
be so impoverished if we
don't have that.
Folk Arts Coordinator
State Foundation on
Culture and the Arts,
Thousands of artists
of "good news" media
High artistic quality. Public
popularity. Cost effectiveness.
stories, scores of vanishing traditions preserved. Apprenticeship programs appear to be
in good hands. Yet with changes at the NEA and many state arts agencies, these pro-
grams face an uncertain future. They must diversify their funding and forge new partner-
ships to survive. In Wisconsin, master Winnebago ceremonial bowl and spoon carver
Myron Lowe took care to teach apprentices "the ethics of the craft," as coordinator
Richard March describes: "how to find suitable burls in the woods, how to remove them
without killing the tree, and how to notch another tree in such a way that in 30 years, the
tree would produce another suitable burl for a future woodcarver." With COntmUSQ
support, apprenticeship programs will put another notch in
Richard Silliboy, master (R), and Valentine Pulchies, apprentice,
seek brown ash trees for Micmac Indian basketmaking, Maine.
This booklet was made possible by a grant from the National
Endowment for the Arts Folk & Traditional Arts Program to
The Fund for Folk Culture. For additional copies of this or the
full-length report of the same title, please contact:
Director, Folk & Traditional Arts
Heritage & Preservation Division
National Endowment for the Arts
The Nancy Hanks Center
1100 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Room 720
Washington, D.C. 20506
Text: Susan Auerbach
Design: Leslie Baker Graphic Design
Cover, pages 9, 16: Troyd Ceist, courtesy North Dakota Council on the Arts
Page 1 : Carl Hefner, courtesy State Foundation on Culture and the Arts
Pages 2, 14, 15: Dana Everts-Boehm, courtesy Missouri Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program
Pages 3, 12, 13: Lynn Martin, courtesy State Foundation on Culture and the Arts
Pages 4, 5, 7: Jane Levine, courtesy Pennsylvania Heritage Affairs Commission
Page 6: Jill Linzee, courtesy New Hampshire State Council on the Arts
Page 8: Eliza Buck, courtesy Oregon Folk Arts Program
Page 1 1 : Joey Brackner, courtesy Alabama State Council on the Arts
Pages 18, 19, 21 : Cedric Chatterley, courtesy Maine Arts Commission